Maui is an extremely popular vacation destination, and for good reason. It’s largely considered to be the best of the Hawaiian islands to visit, and draws many tourists yearly. There are many things that make this island so popular, but one of the stand-out features is the Maui beaches.
It’s often said that Maui has a beach for every mood, and that quote is pretty much true. It has such a variety of beaches that you’ll not only be able to find one that meets your expectations aesthetically, but also one that offers the activities that you’d like to enjoy at the beach.
Here are some of the best Maui beaches, and surrounding accommodation suggestions for each one so that the process of choosing where to stay nearby will be easier as well.
Black Sand Beaches On Maui
Black sand beaches are far more unique and rare than their white sand counterparts. It’s no wonder why many people prefer to spend time on these one-of-a-kind beaches. And Maui’s black sand beaches are some of the most famous.
Honokalani beach is also simply known as “Black Sand Beach”, and is the most popular of all the Maui black sand beaches. But despite its popularity, you actually don’t have to worry too much about crowds at this beach. Most people don’t stay here for too long, and leave after they’ve snapped some pictures.
It’s a shame though, because there’s plenty to do around this beach. You could explore a nearby sea cave that was formed out of volcanic rock, or you could take a hike up the close-by Waianapa’napa coastal trail.
The best accommodation nearby is the Hana-Maui Resort. This resort not only offers a comfortable place to stay but also includes the option to enjoy some of their carefully planned activities such as lei making and horseback riding.
This beach, also known as Venus Pool, is a little hard to get to. However, that means it has the benefits of being quite secluded and romantic at the same time. To reach this magical little beach you’re going to need to either hire a guide or make the trek yourself but pay close attention to directions.
When you’re there though, you’ll enjoy a beautiful dark blue pond surrounded by one of the most beautiful black sand beaches on Maui. Part of its beauty is that there is very little litter on the beach due to the rules set by the landowners, and it appears to be untouched by humanity. If you’re feeling adventurous then you could even cliff jump into the pond.
The Hana-Maui Resort is also close to this location. It’s a mere ten minutes or less from where you need to go to get to this beach. If you’d like to continue the quaint feeling that you got from your visit to Venus Pool then you could even bamboo pool fish back at the resort.
La Perouse Beach
Both the trip to this beach as well as the beach itself comes with a lot of cool history. You’ll have to travel across huge solidified lava fields to reach La Perouse which is possibly the darkest of the Maui beaches.
This is the site where the lava spilled during the eruption in the 1790s. That was the last volcanic eruption that Maui ever had.
On this Maui beach, you can take in the turquoise water and how it contrasts with the dark lava rock of the beach. For even more stunning views there is even some white coral dotting the shore. If you want to get in the water, this spot is great for snorkeling!
A short drive away from these lava fields is the Fairmont Kea Lani where you can stay and take advantage of their chances for you to be more active, such as a 24-hour gym and fitness classes. Or you could relax at one of their three pools instead.
Oneuli Beach is probably one of the less popular beaches in Maui. This is for the simple reason that it’s not optimal for sunbathers who like an easy transition into the water.
Although the beach is covered in a layer of black sand, that sand disappears near the water and ends up becoming hard lava rock. While this does make for a stunning site, it’s not the most convenient for “basking-and-bathing”.
However, you can enjoy other activities there, such as snorkeling and diving, which this beach is actually known for. You might even be able to spot some of the green sea turtles that frequent the area.
There are a few nearby accommodations but check out the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort – A Concept by Hyatt. The amenities there seem limitless, they offer everything from on-site surfing lessons to a restaurant that serves Japanese and American fusion cuisine.
Honomanu Beach is one of the black sand beaches on Maui to visit if you’re after a little privacy. This is because it is a little tricky to get to this beach. You have to find a small dirt road to take you most of the way there, not many people make the journey.
If you are willing to trek down to the beach from the road, then you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery all by yourself. You’ll not only be able to see the black sand, but you’ll be in the perfect place to view the mountain backdrop of this beach. A nice reward for the adventurous.
Because of its semi-remote location, it’s tricky to find a nice place to stay in the area. The well-rated Paia Inn is about an hour-long drive away. It’s popular for the beautiful guest rooms complete with bamboo hardwood floors!
Best Maui Beaches For Surfing
Now that the famous black sand beaches on Maui, let’s not forget the rest. The majority of the beaches in Maui don’t necessarily have black sand but feature incredible charms of their own.
These beaches will show you just how great of a place Maui is for the beach bums of the world. They’re all fantastic selections and there’s something for everyone.
Honolua Bay Beach
This bay features a rocky shoreline, which makes for beautiful views but also means that it’s less than ideal for sunbathers. Nonetheless, it’s one of the best beaches in Maui for other things, such as water sports.
Note that the water sports and activities available will depend greatly on what time of year it is.
During the summer, snorkeling and scuba diving are fun things to try. You can take a peek at the various coral formations and fish. During the winter, Honolua Beach is actually known for its surfing scene. And they even have surfing classes at certain times of the year.
The Montage Kapalua Bay is one of the top accommodations nearby. It’s a 24-acre resort that has everything from meeting rooms to grocery delivery. And it includes things like a spa and health club as well.
Water activities are obviously popular on most Maui beaches, but snorkeling is definitely one of the most common activities at Olowalu beach. The waters are pretty shallow and there’s minimal wind, it is perfect for exploring some marine life! Beginner snorkelers will find these conditions especially helpful.
If you’d prefer to stay on the shore, then you can enjoy a relatively windless day as well. No flapping beach towels or wind chills while sunbathing. During a certain time of year, you could even watch people surf from your sandy vantage point.
Furthermore, this beach is quite close to several major tourist attractions in Maui so it’s perfect to stop by on your way to one of those.
If you want to stay in the area then you might enjoy Maui Sunset, it’s a great accommodation that’s about a 30-minute drive away from the beach. After an active day outdoors, you can relax in their hot tub or perhaps their sauna…
This is one of the Maui beaches with the best reputation for windsurfing, and surfing in general. The waves that make for such great surfing conditions also come with a gorgeous site that land-dwellers will enjoy from their vantage point on the beach itself.
Another great feature of Ho’okipa Beach is that it is home to more Hawaiian sea turtles than any other beaches on Maui! You’re likely to see these turtles swimming and basking at any point, but if you want the best chance, be sure to visit around mid-day.
The Fairmont Kea Lani might be almost an hour’s drive away from the beach but the experience you can get may be well worth the drive. You can enjoy a comfortable suite, as well as access to delicious food through their breakfast buffet in the morning and their seafood restaurant.
Koki Beach may not be a great spot for swimming, but as far as Maui beaches for surfing goes.. this is one of the best. Even if you’re not an experienced surfer yourself, you can still enjoy watching other surfers ride the waves while you relax on the beach.
Speaking of the sand, that is quite a unique feature of this beach because it’s red! I’m sure you’re used to hearing of white and golden sand, and maybe even black sand. But red sand is something new indeed, and there’s even an old legend that surrounds the color of this sand.
Hana-Maui Resort is a good option for accommodation nearby. The resort is beautiful and surrounded by 70 acres of stunning gardens. Plus they offer plenty of outdoor activities for people who enjoy fun in the sun.
MORE BEACHES IN USA
Beaches In Maui With The Best Views
This is one of the Maui beaches with the best reputation. In 1999, it was named the best beach in America for that year! And other famous people are crazy about this beach as well, it’s a fan favorite among celebs. So if you’re hoping to see your favorite celebrity soaking up the sun in Hawaii, Wailea Beach is your best bet.
Wailea Beach has some of the softest sand you’ll find. While you’re lounging on it you can take in the views of several neighboring islands that are visible from this beach. Because of the beautiful background, this is an ideal spot for photos as well.
There is no shortage of great places to stay near this beach, but Ho’olei at Grand Wailea may just be your best option because of its close proximity to the beach (only ten minutes away). You’ll also be able to enjoy their stunning villas; each comes equipped with everything you could need on your vacation.
Napili Beach is the embodiment of Maui beaches at its finest, with its sloping sand, gentle waves, and bright blue waters. It’s actually one of the most visited beaches on the island.
One of the most talked about features is the sunset views that you can witness from the beach. They’re utterly breathtaking.
And because of the calm waters, Napili Beach is actually a great spot for water activities like swimming, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, boogie boarding, and even kayaking.
Napili Kai Beach Resort is a fantastic accommodation nearby with features that cover everything you would expect from a resort and more. They have an open-air restaurant, a golf course, a fitness center, and even facilities for guests to barbecue.
Makena Beach is actually referred to as Maui’s “Big Beach” and the name is apt considering this is one of the largest of all the Maui beaches. It’s a whopping 1.5 miles long, and 100 yards wide!
This is also one of the prettiest beaches in Maui, featuring golden sand against blue-green water, all pulled together by views of a cliff-backdrop. Take advantage of the ample space to sunbathe, and don’t forget that shade is easy to find on this beach as well if you need it.
Check out the Fairmont Kea Lani if you visit Makena Beach, it’s located very close to the beach. And while you’re there, you could visit their very own Luana Lounge for live entertainment and specialty martinis, before you retire to your cabana-style suites.
Maui Beaches With Plenty Of Water Activities
If you’re looking for beaches in Maui that are approved by locals then look no further. In fact, Palauea Beach is rarely visited by tourists at all and it’s mostly locals that enjoy its beauty. This also means that you won’t have to fight too many crowds to enjoy this Maui beach. A major bonus if you prefer more peace and privacy.
It is a relatively small beach, but its best feature is honestly the water. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities to take part in here, as there are loads of sea turtles and tropical fish who swim in the area.
If you plan to stay in the area, the Fairmont Kea Lani is a great place to spend the night and it’s only ten-ish minutes away from this beach. The suites are cabana-style and you’ll have access to on-site dining and an on-site spa as well as several other fantastic features.
The Kapalua Beach is a great spot for all those that enjoy spotting interesting marine life. Two reefs actually encompass the waters around the area, which not only makes for calm waters but draws in things like butterfly fish and even Moray eels.
Because of that, it is one of the best Maui beaches to snorkel, scuba dive, and swim in. So whether you want an active day or one where you relax on the soft sand, this beach covers all your bases.
One great place to stay in the area is Montage Kapalua Bay. Here you can enjoy spacious suites that include amenities like fully-equipped kitchens as well as on-site entertainment, tennis courts, and a spa.
Baldwin Beach is definitely among some of the lengthier beaches in Maui, it’s a very long stretch of white sand.
Along this beach, you can find two different protected swimming sites which have notoriously calm waters. The area also has a watchful lifeguard, so you can feel a bit safer.
In terms of popular activities in the area, bodysurfing and bodyboarding are the bread and butter of this beach. It’s actually one of the most popular bodysurfing and bodyboarding sites and beaches in Maui.
Paia Inn is located nearby, and you can have access to the various supplies that they provide such as chairs, beach towels, boogie boards, and snorkel gear. And if you need anything else, it’s conveniently located nearby several different shops.
Kamaole is actually a set of beaches, each featuring its own perks and charms. Make sure to choose the one that appeals the most to you.
Kamaole Beach 1 and 2 are famous for being some of the best beaches in Maui to swim at, whereas Kamaole Beach 3 is better known for bodyboarding.
However, they all have some features in common. Things like white sand, blue waters, and the jagged rock formations that separate them can be found on all these gorgeous beaches. You really can’t choose the wrong one!
The Castle Kamaole Sands is a good option for those who are looking to stay overnight in the area. You’ll have access to a terrace, an outdoor swimming pool, two hot tubs, a fitness center, four tennis courts, and barbecue facilities.
If you’ve come to Maui for water activities like snorkeling and scuba diving, then Ulua Beach is definitely one of the best beaches in Maui to be at. Part of the reason is that the beach lies in a protected, shallow cove. The sand slopes gently lead up to the water for an easy transition into the enticing ocean.
That said, many people also choose to come here to sunbathe because the wind isn’t really an issue here. Plus there are some helpful facilities nearby such as showers and restrooms, which is a major bonus!
The Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is one of your closest accommodation options near this beach, and it comes with glowing ratings. A really unique and attractive part of this resort is that it’s been recognized for eco-friendly practices!
Beaches In Maui That Are Great For Sunbathing
You should consider going to Hamoa Beach for the sand alone! The sand at this beach might just be one of the best out of all the Maui beaches. It is soft and silky with hardly any rocks at all, which is a nice contrast to some of the rockier beaches that you’ll experience in Hawaii.
It’s the perfect beach for simply lounging around. Hamoa beach is quite shady in certain parts so it’s easy to get out of the sun if you need to.
There are also more amenities than many other beaches as well. Public bathrooms, showers, and even a foot washing station are available at Hamoa, so you can wash off before entering your car.
Just a few minutes away is the Hana-Maui Resort which is a great place to stay. There are many fun activities to do there if you’re not too tired from your day. Alternatively, you can go the pampering route and enjoy their massages, facials, and body treatments.
Charley Young Beach
This is one of the best beaches in Maui to visit in the morning, as the waters are calm and it isn’t too windy. Charley Young beach is known for its soft, golden sand that actually extends into the water. You can go out for a swim without worrying about your feet scraping rocks or other hard objects.
The occasional tourist does wander onto this beach, normally families with kids, since this beach is fairly family-friendly. That said, you’ll also see a lot of locals strolling around.
During the summer season, you’ll probably notice a lot of boogie-boarding as that’s a common activity at this beach at that time of year.
One of the nearest accommodations to this beach would be Maui Sunset which is a popular favorite. Their apartments are tropical themed, they have a gym, a pool, and perhaps most excitingly… several tennis courts!
The coloring of this beach is pure perfection. With bright white sand and the bluest of blue water, it can’t be improved on. This is why it’s considered one of the best beaches in Maui, and it’s definitely one of the most visited in West Maui.
If you stick around until sunset, you’ll be able to witness a very unique nightly tradition. This tradition is held in homage to King Kahekili, and it happens on Black Rock (a cliff towards the north end of the beach). A diver will light torches along the cliff and then dive off it!
After all the excitement, you can retreat for the night and we suggest the Kaanapali Alii for that. They really have thought about every potential need for you; they even have an on-site movie rental and their own convenience store!
Discovering The Best Maui Beaches
Beaches in Maui are without a doubt places worth visiting, and no matter which one you choose to check out you’re sure to have a great time. Perhaps you’d like to visit several throughout your trip or stick to just one. Either way, you’ll be getting a taste of the Maui beach experience.
And with all these great options, your biggest problem will be making the tough decision of which ones to choose because there are simply too many to explore all in one trip.
These are just some of the best beaches that Maui has to offer, but there are plenty more for you to explore. Once you’ve had your fill of sun and sand, you can check out some of the other amazing attractions that this island has such as Haleakala National Park or the Lahaina Banyan Court Park.